With reports of the Alhambra being relatively crowd free, and tickets easy to get, we decided to hot-foot it down to Granada for a few days. Hot, sticky, but very much worth it. A bit different to our last visit in November!
Staying in Granada
Tourism post-lockdown is not picking up quite as quickly as everyone expected. Many hotels, bars and restaurants are still closed. We managed to get a cracking deal at the Hotel Saray in Granada. Part of the Santos group, it was very comfortable and the staff were extremely helpful. You have to bear in mind that this is a new Covid-19 reality though, and things are not what they were. The pool undergoes deep cleaning every morning shattering our dreams of a morning by the pool on our final day. Breakfast buffets are no more and, despite the price still being €12, all we saw were pre-plated selections of fruit and jamon covered in clingfilm. We were pleased we hadn’t included breakfast in our rate. Hopefully this situation will be able to change before long.
Food, glorious food!
Wandering around the streets of Granada in a mask is a humid affair and not the most comfortable experience you’ll ever have. Having said that, it was nice to see the majority of people keeping to social distancing and mask wearing rules. Every bar and restaurant has oodles of hand sanitiser at the door and taking off your mask to step into the air conditioned interior was always a pleasure. We had some great food, as always, in various parts of the city, and I even found a bar who let me watch the Brighton game with a pint, albeit an Irish themed pub! It’s always amusing to see poor translations on menus and I was particularly taken by “eggs with jam” which, of course, I ordered!!
Visiting the Alhambra
No matter how good the food and drink is though, the main reason many people come to Granada is to visit the Alhambra Palace. Now, I’m not a tour guide by any means, and there is so much information out there about this magnificent spectacle that I won’t even attempt the history lesson which awaits you. Just look at Wikipedia as a starting point for your education. All I can advise you is to buy your tickets here. You’ll need to create an account in order to book, and have a passport number for each member of your party which must be shown several times during your visit to gain access to different areas. Choose a sensible time to end your visit at the Nazaries Palace. You can enter the complex earlier, but allow sufficient time to get there before your allocated time slot. A taxi from the centre to the gate will cost about €6 and with some comfortable shoes you’ll be able to wander around the palaces and gardens AND walk back to the city centre even if the temperature hits forty degrees Celsius as it did for us. Face masks are required once inside the gates and hand sanitiser is provided at the entry to every place where you have to show your ticket and ID for the umpteenth time. The queues were a surprise, but this is because Covid-19 measures slow things down a lot.
Gardens and Water
The gardens are stunning. Even in the summer heat there is an abundance of colour. The Arabs loved their water features too and there are an awful lot of them scattered around. If you want to read more about the history of the Alhambra’s water features, I recommend looking at what our good friends at Piccavey have written.
Architecture of the Alhambra
You’ll be wowed by something new at every turn, and don’t be afraid to wander off along any little alleyway you may find. The views through arched doorways are amazing and also, don’t forget to look up from time to time.
Patterns and Colours
There is a fascinating array of artwork on display. Carvings, paintings and mosaic tile-work ensure that a visit to the Alhambra is a visual spectacle. Again, if you want to know more about the secrets behind the writing on the wall, Piccavey have beaten me to it!
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself to Granada before the crowds return!